[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

[Emblem]

The Judiciary of Islamic Republic of Iran

Court Order

Court

Therefore follow not your passion, lest ye be distracted from truth

 

Date: 138-----

Number: -----

Enclosure: -----

 

Case Reference 8809982316900123 Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Semnan

Court Order Number 8809972317300201– 6 Mordad 1388 [28 July 2009]

Archival Reference Number: 88/130

Accused: Mr. Behnam Motearefi, son of Ziaollah resident of Semnan [redacted], represented by counsel, Mr. Khalil Bahramian

Charge(s): a) Activities against the national security by forming illegal groups and gatherings associated with Baha’is, and his membership thereof; b) Propaganda in favour of the groups who are against the regime, i.e., Baha’ism.

Procedural synopsis: In accordance with the indictment numbers 88/69/00123, dated 6 Khordad 1388 [27 May 2009] issued by the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office in Semnan, by which Mr. Behnam Motearefi, son of Ziaollah has been prosecuted on charges of: a) Activities against the national security by forming illegal groups and gatherings associated with Baha’is, and his membership thereof; b) propaganda in favour of groups against the regime, i.e., Baha’ism, the case has been submitted to Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Semnan for review. Subsequent to completion of routine legal procedures and setting a hearing date for 30 Tir 1388 [21 July 2009], this court proceeded with a trial, in which, after due investigation and considering the submissions of the respected prosecutor, and the defence put forth by the accused, and subsequent to final submissions of the defence and careful examination of the elements of the indictment, this court concluded the trial and, by relying on the Almighty God, rendered the following decision.

((Decision of the Court))

According to the bill of indictment number 88/69/00123, dated 6 Khordad 1388 [27 May 2009], issued by the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office of Semnan, Mr. Behnam Motearefi, son of Ziaollah, married, educated, occupation: farmer, no previous records, released on collateral, native of Babolsar, resident of Semnan, member of the perverse Baha’i sect, represented by counsel Mr. Khalil Bahramian, stands charged with: a) Activities against national security by forming illegal groups and gatherings associated with the Baha’is, and his membership thereof; b) propaganda in favour of groups against the regime, i.e., Baha’ism.

Preface: On 19 Ordibehesht 1388 [9 May 2009], respected Director General of the Ministry of Intelligence in Semnan informed the esteemed prosecutor through report number 3732/Kh/8116 that the abovementioned accused is an active element of Baha’ism in Semnan and that through forming of and membership in the illegal groups he has been engaged in propaganda in favour of the said sect in the greater community. In conclusion the report requested that an order be issued for the search of [his] residence and for further questioning. Moreover, the respected prosecutor forwarded the report to his assistant for further investigation and for him to issue the necessary warrants. In a follow-up report to the prosecutor, the respected Director General of the Ministry of Intelligence indicated that the accused person’s place of residence was searched and a total of 236 documents and items related to the illegal Baha’i sect, such as booklets, compact discs, and propaganda videos for the aforementioned sect were found. Furthermore, the following facts became known as a result of questioning him:

1- Forming illegal groups: a) under the guise of “19 Day Feast”—a group of 30 people; b) a conference on “the Covenant”—20 people; c) forming junior youth and youth meetings—40 people, under the supervision of the illegal administration of Baha’ism in Iran; 2- The accused person’s participation in “Ruhi program” in Tehran along with 25 people with the aim of organizing and training the Baha’is, preparing them for teaching activities within the Muslim community; 3- Propaganda for Baha’ism in the greater Muslim community by way of making contacts with Muslims and giving them compact discs and Baha’i teaching materials, and efforts to attract them to the said sect using the training provided to them by the centre of Baha’ism in Tehran and in Israel; 4- Receiving instructions from the House of Justice and implementing them in the greater community; 5- Contacting foreign media and providing them with information from within the regime.

Subsequent to sending the file to the prosecutor’s office, the respected deputy prosecutor conducted further investigation which resulted in the accused person’s admission of guilt. An indictment was then issued and the file was submitted to the court. The court set a date thereafter at which time a hearing was convened in the presence of the prosecutor, the accused person and his lawyer who, over a period of two hours, defended his client against the charges.   

Based on the following evidence:

1. The indictment issued by the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office of Semnan;

2. Preliminary and final report of the Director General of the Ministry of Intelligence in Semnan, a summary of which was read [in court];

3. The accused person’s own admission, during various stages of the investigation, i.e., at the Ministry of Intelligence, Prosecutor’s Office, and in court, to membership in illegal groups and engagement in propaganda in favour of Baha’ism, which is a group in opposition to the holy regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It should be noted that during the investigation at the Office of the [Ministry of] Intelligence, the accused stated that:

“At age 16 I was a member of the junior youth committee;”

“In 1383 [2004/2005], I was a member of the youth council;”

“In 1387 [2008/2009], I was chairman of the 19 Day Feast;”

“I completed the Ruhi program in Tehran together with 2 other individuals;”

“I have spoken briefly to friends and acquaintances about the Baha’i faith.”

On page 133, concerning teaching Baha’ism by using the booklet entitled Introduction to the Baha’i Faith, the accused indicated, “I used the booklet to introduce people to the Baha’i Faith, meaning that I would tell them that such belief ‘existed’.” On page 134, in response to a question by the deputy prosecutor regarding his activities, the accused stated, “To begin with, Baha’i activities were not illegal (p. 140),” however, the accused was not able to produce any proof to verify the legality of his activities. At an interrogation at the prosecutor’s office, the accused indicated that he was an active member of the junior youth and youth committees (p.141). When asked whether or not he would provide individuals with booklets or compact discs if they asked for it, the accused indicated, “Yes, if someone asked for it, I gave it to them.” On page 142, he further indicated that if he feels that an individual is interested, he would proceed [to tell them about Baha’i ideology].” On page 143, during the hearing the accused spoke about his membership in the youth committee; he said, “I was a member of the youth committee and chairman of the 19 Day Feast. These activities have to do with our own religious duties.” Concerning organizing a conference on “the Covenant,” the accused stated, “I did not organize this gathering, but I was a participant. This gathering was a religious observance.”  As to the distribution of compact discs related to Baha’ism, the accused stated, “Whenever I was asked about my beliefs, I provided the individual with compact discs containing information about my faith.” At the end of the hearing, with regards to teaching Baha’ism, the accused indicated, “I cannot be denied my given right, i.e. teaching Baha’ism.” During the submission of the defence, the accused and his counsel both indicated that the groups, of which the accused was a member, are not illegal and that Baha’ism is a belief and, as was mentioned, is his given right, thus he has not committed any offence. This defence is completely unacceptable, because any group who would want to pursue any kind of activity in the community must obtain a proper licence of operation from the authorities, and is not allowed to form any meetings or gatherings until such licence is issued. Furthermore, according to the country’s Public Prosecutor General, as stated in a letter addressed to the respected Minister of Intelligence at the time, Baha’ism is in opposition to the Islamic regime and does not have a licence to operate. Moreover, the Supreme Leader has stated on page 66 of Ajvabatu’l-Istifta’at [answers to religious inquiries] that, “All the believers should resist the deceptions and corruption of the perverse Baha’i sect and prevent others from being deceived by them and joining them. They should refrain from any interaction whatsoever with this misguided and perverse sect; they are najis [unclean] and, they are your enemies and the enemies of your Faith.” In short, the perverse Baha’i sect is in opposition to, nay an enemy of, the holy regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and has no legitimacy, to be allowed legitimate membership. Therefore, the court rejects the defence put forth by the accused and his attorney. 4. With regards to 236 items, i.e. booklets, compact discs and videos found in his home, it is unreasonable to argue that they were for personal use and reference. Moreover, according to the statements of the accused during the course of the investigation, by his own admission, he engaged in distribution of the said material to others. 5. Additional circumstantial evidence in the file has confirmed his guilt on two other allegations. Pursuant to Articles 10, 47, 499, and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code, for membership in groups opposing the holy regime of the Islamic Republic, i.e., youth committee and other groups, namely youth and junior youth conferences, the aim of which is to promote the Baha’i principles in the innocent junior youth and youth who were born into Baha’i families. He did not have any permit to function legally, therefore the accused is sentenced to six months’ imprisonment under tazir[[1]] law. For propaganda in favour of Baha’ism, which is an enemy and a group against the holy regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the accused is sentenced to one year’s imprisonment under tazir law, taking into account the period spent in custody prior to trial. All items taken from the home of the accused, which in the assessment of the experts at the Ministry of Intelligence are related to propaganda and to the illegal Baha’i sect institutions, will be confiscated. As for the remaining charges on the indictment, i.e., activities against national security by forming illegal groups and gatherings connected to Baha’ism, the defence put forth by the accused was considered, and due to the court’s lack of conscious conviction and ultimately lack of evidence as well as the principle of presumption of innocence and Article 137 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Article 177-a. of the Criminal Procedure Act for Public and Revolutionary Courts, an acquittal order was issued. This court order was issued in the presence of the accused and may be appealed within twenty days in the respected courts of appeal in the province of Semnan. /A

Mohammad Zangouie

Prosecutor of Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Semnan

7 Shahrivar 1388 [29 July 2009]

[Signature]

 

[1] [Tazir (discretionary punishment):  punishment with maximum and minimum limits determined by law and judge, respectively.]